Studying abroad does present some challenges, but for many young people, it is a huge opportunity to experience independence, grow academically, and gain important life skills.
For students who have the privilege to be able to study abroad, there are some wonderful international educational opportunities. Studying abroad can be valuable in most fields of studies, but is especially beneficial to students interested in international relations, sociology, the global economy, or for those just wanting the experience of learning a new language and culture.
1. Learn another language and culture
The proven benefits of learning a new language include better problem-solving skills and boosts intelligence. Students wanting to polish up on a second language or learn a new language have an opportunity to practice speaking it first-hand when studying in another country.
Immersion into a culture is the best way to learn a new language (and its colloquialisms) because of ample practice opportunities. Learning a language from a textbook differs from picking it up during normal daily interactions. Living abroad on a foreign campus, socializing, and shopping offer the best opportunities for becoming fluent.
To learn a language fluently, students need to:
- Mingle or live with locals, making it compulsory for them to speak the language all the time. It is normal to struggle in the beginning, but soon the language and its expressions become more familiar.
- They should avoid speaking English as much as possible. Conversations initially are slow, but with practice, the flow gets better.
- Asking questions and asking to be corrected when making a mistake is appreciated by peers and most are willing to help.
2. Increased career prospects
Over 40,000 students from 200 countries surveyed by Hobsons revealed that their main reasons for studying abroad were the career prospects it offers them. Employers are also on the lookout for employees with certain skills and traits. These appear to be more dominant in students who have studied in a foreign country.
They include soft skills, communication, and leadership skills. Across the globe, soft skills are very much in demand and will continue to be so in the future. They are the opposite of hard skills which are the skills taught at university.
Soft skills are not easily defined but are a range of skills that allow someone to have great communication and team skills. They include adaptability, creativity, problem-solving, and positivity. These are all skills that very prominent in young employees who have studied abroad.
The multicultural face of modern businesses requires communication skills and an understanding of different cultures. Studying in a foreign country teaches young adults to be fair and respect others.
3. Increased financial benefits
The Go International Program recently reported that students earn more annually than those that study in their home country.
Some students also take advantage of financial incentives to study in another country. This could come in the form of an international study program, bursary, or by taking advantage of the cheaper university rates and cost of living in the chosen country.
4. Personal growth and development
Some of the soft skills that can be learned while studying abroad can also help with more than just career growth, but apply to the personal life of the student. Being overseas for a short stay or holiday does not match the experience of spending a few years in a foreign country. Besides learning a new culture and language, the opportunity to mix with students from all over the world offers unique perspectives.
On first arriving, students are completely outside their comfort zone, and the daily need to meet the challenges and adjust boost self-confidence, independence, and resilience. These attributes create greater ambition and often open doors for further plans.
5. Connect with others
Meeting people and establishing friendships are of the greatest benefits of studying abroad. People from diverse backgrounds converge at universities across the globe, offering each of them the unique opportunity to understand each other. Like-minded individuals offer each other support, unique cultural earning opportunities, and often exciting work opportunities are born from these friendships. These relations lead to lifelong friendships and many even find the love of their life.
For those that can afford to study abroad, it is an opportunity to open doors to a bright future in their careers as they open their global horizons. Wherever one chooses to study, the connections, skills, and increased career prospects are a certainty. The thrilling opportunity to explore a new part of the globe, learn a new language, and understand the culture of a region is invaluable.